Friday, February 23, 2018

Responding To School Violence

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the 17 victims as well as the community of Parkland, Florida and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where a school shooting had taken place on February 14, 2018. This horrific tragedy and heinous crime has educators, parents and communities asking: "What can be done to prevent these types of things from happening in our schools?" Many constituents are asking their education officials: What is being done to prevent this from happening in their schools?" 

At Colstrip Public Schools we follow a School Crisis Response Plan in order to execute emergency procedures in emergency situations from specific isolated emergencies to major disasters. The objectives of Colstrip school emergency operations program are to protect the lives and well-being of its students and staff through the prompt and timely response of trained school personnel should an emergency affect the school. To meet these objectives, the school has established and maintains a comprehensive emergency operations program that includes plans and procedures, hazard analysis, security audits, training and exercise, and plan review and maintenance. 

In addition to emergency procedures, our district has implemented video surveillance and lock-down technology to secure it's building from outside threats. The staff is trained in first aid, CPR and AED use. The district has also entered into a partnership with the local policy department that provides a School Resource Officer twenty hours a week. Even though the District is prepared, we also need to be preventative.

Probably one of the most significant preventative measures we have implemented is a Quantum Learning concept called Home Court Advantage or HCA. This concept is based on Safety, Support and Belonging. It is a chant our students, K-12 know, but are learning the deeper meaning behind the concept. It isn't enough just to know what to do in an emergency, but more importantly what should we be doing to prevent tragedies from happening. HCA provides a foundation for understanding expectations and actions.

Providing safety, support and belonging to all members of this district is essential to learning outcomes and growth. Abraham Maslow created a frame-work in which people generally move through in order to attain self actualization. Safety, support and belonging must be obtained before a person's full potential can be realized.

HCA is about caring for one another and recognizing basic needs. Basic human needs that surround the human dimensions (see below):
  • Physical: Physiologic needs: breathing, circulation, temperature, food and etc.
  • Environmental: Safety and security needs: housing, community, climate and etc.
  • Soicalcultural: Love and belonging needs: relationships, support, part of a community and etc.
  • Emotional: Self-esteem needs: Hope, joy, happiness, accepting of self.
  • Intellectual/spiritual: Self-actualization needs: thinking, learning, decision making, values, beliefs, fulfillment, helping others.
All basic human needs are interrelated and may require actions at more than one level at a given time. For example, in caring for a person coming into the emergency department with a heart attack, the nurse’s immediate concern in the patient’s physiologic needs (e.g., oxygen and pain relief). At the same time, safety needs (e.g., for ensuring that the person does not fall off the examining table) and love and belonging needs (e.g., for having a family member nearby if possible) are still major considerations.[11]
At Colstrip Public Schools Home Court Advantage is essential in supporting its Core Purpose:
  • SAFETY: Every student will attend a "safe" environment. Students will always be assured that this school is their safe haven from harm's way. Every student's dignity is protected here!
  • SUPPORT: Every student will receive support from every member in this school. We will pick each other up when we are down and will applaud individual and group success. Everyone is a part of this school and everyone will support those in it.
  • BELONGING: Every student is valued in this school! This is our school and our students' home away from home. It is a place of welcome and family for everyone!
 Please know we are working towards perfecting these concepts in our daily work. As we improve, our students, staff and community can be more confident in the safety provided when school is in session.



"Get out in front and stay there!"